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Aldermen seeking help with road project

Monticello aldermen left for Washington, D.C., this morning toremind the Mississippi’s congressional delegation of the importanceof a project to revitalize the town.

Aldermen will meet with Third District U.S. Rep. Chip Pickeringand Senators Trent Lott and Thad Cochran and their staffs duringthe week-long visit. Most aldermen will return Friday, but Ward TwoAlderman Steve Moreman is returning Thursday to meet otherobligations.

Aldermen intend to stress the importance of constructing afrontage road on the south side of the Highway 84 Bypass and aboulevard connecting the highway to downtown Monticello, said MayorDavid Nichols.

The first phase of the proposed project is the frontage road toencourage economic development along the new four-lane highway, hesaid.

The frontage road is expected to cost approximately $1.4 millionto construct, according to engineers. However, they are stilldesigning the road and a total cost has not been determined.

More importantly, Nichols said, the frontage road will notdisplace any homes or businesses.

The proposed boulevard linking the highway and new frontage roadto the downtown area is perhaps even more vital, the mayor said,because it is designed to draw highway traffic back to the town’sheart of its retail district.

The downtown area experienced a drop in business traffic whenHighway 84 was diverted to the new four-lane bypass. The boulevardis the town’s solution to restore some of that traffic, Nicholssaid.

The boulevard will emerge on the eastern side of the oldKellwood Manufacturing Plant. The route will not displace anyhomes, but will force the relocation of the House of Hope, anondenominational church that opened recently on Broad Street.

A public hearing held last month showed promise for the project.Two landowners along the route were the only private citizens toattend the hearing, and they expressed their support of theproject.

A public hearing was required before aldermen could seek federalassistance on the project.